Saturday, September 17, 2022

Dark Alpha’s Command

Dark Alpha's Command (Reaper, #15)Dark Alpha's Command by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another solid installment in this world that I’ll start my review with the following note: If this is your first adventure into the Reaper world (or this universe) it may be a little bit overwhelming. There is a lot of back story, characters, drama, and romance that lay in the pages before those of this book. I’m sure you can read this standalone, but you’ll miss all the great nuance that’s thrown in. I’d recommend starting wayyyyyy back at the beginning, but know that can seem daunting.

This story is finally Balladyn’s redemption. He has been the good guy, the bad guy, the sort of good guy again, and now is finding his place among the Reapers. As a bit of an oddball because of his history, made especially awkward by his ex being the mate of the Dragon Kings’ leader, he has been understandably standoffish. Rhona is in an unusual spot herself. She’s the leader of the Skye druids, but feels unqualified for the position, not being a magical powerhouse herself. Upon arriving to a standard meeting, she’s attacked and somehow summons none other than Balladyn himself. How? Well, I think I’m still confused about that, but here we are!

Balladyn does the typical martyr act and throws all his sins on the table to allow Rhona to reject him before anything starts. Lucky for us, she doesn’t, so we get some good sizzle along with the larger storyline. We get some nudging for the Aisling and X story, but what we really attack (haha) is Lena, the head of the big baddies. Combining all their baggage seems to work both magically and romantically for these two, so we are gifted with a huge battle in the final act. While we still have one more book in the series to tie up loose ends, this was a good step forward overall.

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

S’mores Siren Song

S'mores Siren SongS'mores Siren Song by Virginia Barlow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very quick, self-contained read that gave us just a taste of what is clearly a larger world.

Addy is a siren who looks like a mermaid. She’s been trying to help out her local fishermen by luring fish back into the harbor for them, but the evil corporate seafood guy just keeps breaking laws to get what he wants. Their feud has escalated and Addy has gotten the attention of the law herself, but to investigate the concerns of a business owner, who Addy is also. Ben, the “law” in question, ends up investigating, but hopes to find a mermaid himself. He also, lucky for us, has no problem combining business and pleasure, so starts a fling with Addy. This swiftly turns into more on all fronts, escalating quickly into a race for their lives. Overall, this was an easy read with minimal loose ends.

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Ruby Fever

Ruby Fever (Hidden Legacy, #6)Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These book are so good that while I’m happy we wrapped up a nice HEA for Catalina and Alessandro, I’m so sad we got here! They are jam-packed with awesome action, in a world I am absolutely in love with, and still manage to have oodles of heart.

We join Catalina with a bit of time having passed. The gang has regrouped into a compound more appropriate for both the notoriety of their relatively new house, and the amount of warfare that they are attracting with their ongoing battle. Good news - the big bad from this trilogy ends up getting completely and ultimately resolved in the epic showdown we all wanted. The bad - we had so many battles building up to this, that it was EXHAUSTING for a reader. No real complaints, but these books definitely have you on the edge of your seat for a while. There is definitely real chances that you lose someone, so these bloody battles are nerve wracking.

Catalina shows true growth by the end of this series, and not just in romance. She navigates a very complicated story here, with so much deception and secrets that I have to applaud her. Does she lose it sometimes? Sure! But she is the undisputed best leader of the houses we met. I wish this book was 300 more pages long so I could continue to live and breathe in this world, truly. Sadly, all good things must come to an end so we need to turn the page from Catalina to, hopefully, the last remaining unmatched sister. More please!

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Saturday, September 10, 2022

Death’s Mistress

Death's Mistress (Dorina Basarab, #2)Death's Mistress by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book broke my book club, so while I’m giving it 4 stars for where we ended up, it gets a little tough from the start. As someone who has read the other series with Cassie and understand a bit more about this world, maybe that’s needed to properly follow a lot of the chaotic, messy scenes with little explanation thrown in.

Dorina is now working with her dreaded father. This is OK, but I wish there was a lot more troll involvement in this book. What ultimately ends up being the story revolves around a rune that was supposed to be gifted to Dorina’s roommate’s son, the heir to the thrown. Said rune is stolen, sold in a very complicated and confusing tale, and for some reason only Dorina can get it back. Maybe it’s because she has enemies in all the factions involved? Either way, she’s on the case and the smut level was low until L-C (I’m not spelling his name out and fighting autocorrect every time) shows up to immediately up the smut.

L-C is on a mission of his own to get back the much discussed Christine. Yeah, that doesn’t quite go the way he wanted. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ray, who’s the undisputed star of this book. He’s a decapitated vampire who ends up playing a huge role and probably saving stuff more than Dorina throughout the book. Maybe he and the trolls can get a spinoff series. While this book was clearly a turning point book, I’m a little scared where it will go. Since my book club has given up on the seres, this leaves me all alone to power through. It is a little exhausting reading these books in the way that reading the Cassie series is exhausting. So little time passes and so very much damage is accrued. It seems unsustainable and makes me want to take a nap.

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Hunter’s Blood

Hunter’s Blood (The Hunter, #1)Hunter’s Blood by R. Sullins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took a little time to get cooking, but once it did, I couldn’t stop. It was a bit like a smutty mix of Buffy the vampire slayer meets moody and possessive Dracula. I hope you read that as the positive comparison I meant it to be.

Ivy is a bit of a loner, having been the primary caretaker for her injured sister. As twins, Ivy naturally feels a bit of responsibility towards her car, especially when they were both in the same crash that took their parents. There are, however, oodles of secrets that Ivy is keeping from almost everyone. During a run after work one night, she comes face-to-face with the evil that lurks in this world. They are seemingly drawn to her, for supernatural reasons that are better explained by her rescuer/rich stranger-turned-trainer vampire.

Crispin is the king of vampires in the region, has tons of power, and has sworn off women until Ivy marches into his life. He does all the rich vampire stuff to try to lure her in, complete with sparring matches, paying her bills, etc. Somehow, though, this doesn’t come off as canned vampire storyline. Ivy and Crispin have roadblocks, yes, but once they move firmly into romance they go full steam ahead. I liked that - knowing that we will probably go through some sort of savior thing, but knowing that at least we wouldn’t have this stupidly predictable miscommunication subplot. All-in-all I ended up liking a lot of the characters here, even the rather moody twin. Definitely worth another look at future installments.

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Friday, September 2, 2022

Bad Girls Drink Blood

Bad Girls Drink BloodBad Girls Drink Blood by S.L. Choi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a nice blend of fantasy, action, and mystery with a little smut thrown in for good measure.

Lane is a no nonsense blood fae hybrid who has become a bit of an unofficial leader of the business she and her two other sisters run. As the “heavy hitter” of the bunch, this makes sense, but this trio definitely balance each other out. While they may not be the same variety of paranormal, they are a close knit bunch. During a failed business run, Lane ends up at the local paranormal bar to do some business and check on things when a simple decision ends up putting her on a bigger quest. Said quest involves lots of secrets shaking loose, Lane further discovering her skills (aka monster of monsters status), and a massive amount of damage.

I’d be hard pressed to categorize this book because while it is definitely not a romance at the center, it has some elements of that in the form of a sexy barkeep and one ornery blood fae. The action is almost the center stage act here because it was AMAZING, especially in the last act. I enjoyed meeting all the players and as book 1, I assume we will definitely revisit them. I felt like by the time I finally got the world built in my head, we had sadly reached the end. This book may have taken some time to get cooking, but when it did I couldn’t stop!

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